Former Stoke stars support charity football tournament
Two Stoke City legends are lending their support to a commemorative charity football tournament that will raise vital funds for two regional charities.
Ricardo Fuller and Mama Sidibe have entered a Five-a-side team into a Football Family Fun Day being held at Longton Rugby Club, Sir Stanley Matthews Way, on Saturday 29th June, 2019.
The annual event, which kicks off at 11.30am, is held in memory of Thomas Escourt, who died at just seven years old, and Jack Dulson who lost his life to an infection aged nine.
Proceeds raised from this year’s tournament, which will see 15 five-a-side teams battling it out to lift the winner’s trophy, will be shared between Caudwell Children, the Staffordshire based charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, and the Jack Dulson Memorial Fund, which raises awareness of Pericarditis, the condition that caused Jack’s death, and also provides leisure and recreational activities for children and young people up to the age of 18.
Steve Cato, organiser of the event, is delighted with the growth of the tournament since its inception eight years ago. As he explained: “As a practising solicitor specialising in criminal law I got to know Thomas’ dad, Dave, some years ago.
“He worked as a police officer for Staffordshire Police, in their Custody facility in Etruria, and he used to bring Thomas, who was disabled, into the station so I got to know him over time.
“He was a special young lad with a fantastic smile and when he passed away I wanted to raise funds for Horton Lodge, Thomas’ school, so I organised a Police v Solicitors match.
“Since then the event has evolved and grown into this wonderful, family friendly, tournament.”
The event will also include a bouncy castle, face and nail painting, mouth-watering barbeque, raffle, sealed auction for Stoke City goodies, exercise classes from local company Bee Active and an ice cream van.
“Not only that,” exclaimed Steve. “Longton Rugby Clubs full bar facilities will be open so you’ll be able to have a crafty beer or Prosecco!”
When Jack, the younger brother of Rebecca Dulson, a colleague of Steve’s at Beswicks Solicitors, passed away in 2014 it was decided that proceeds from the event would be split between the school and the Jack Dulson Memorial Fund.
But this year Dave, and his wife Annmarie, have decided to donate their share of the proceeds to Caudwell Children.
“The charity supplied Thomas with two specialist powered wheelchairs, which cost tens of thousands of pounds, so we want to pay back our debt of gratitude to them for all their support,” explained Dave.
The event will see the teams split into two mini-leagues with the winners and runners up progressing to the semi-finals and final.
Fuller, who made 183 appearances for the Potters between 2006 and 2012, scoring 43 goals, and Sidibe, who appeared 168 times for the club, from 2005-2013, have played in the tournament before and Steve says that they take it extremely seriously. He said: “Even though the pair are now both 39 they are still streets ahead of everyone else.
“They have a few friends who play with them and they’ve won the last two tournaments so everyone is desperate to beat them.”
Rebecca is looking forward to the tournament. She said: “It’s always a wonderful day and we’re hoping to attract 200-300 people.
“It’s a fitting way to remember the two boys and a great way to raise funds and awareness of two fantastic causes, so I’d urge as many people to come down, enjoy the day, and give generously.“
You can find out about more Caudwell Children events here.